Monday, June 13, 2011

Reasons To Stay?

The following request for reasons to stay in philosophy was posted over at the What it's Like blog and Feminist Philosophers, as well as New APPS:

I am about to start my PhD at an excellent Leiter ranked program. I have a BA and and MA from excellent schools. I have worked closely with ground breaking philosophers in my field. I have published, I have an excellent teaching resume, phenomenal letters of recommendation, and moreover I love my job. I am a good philosopher, and I am thinking about leaving philosophy.

I have been a secretary and a chauffeur. I have been disingenuously promised research assistantships and letters of recommendation, in return for dinner dates and car rides. I have been asked if I was married while my colleagues have been asked what they think. I have been told that I’m both cute and idiotic. I have passed on professional opportunities because I am a woman, and no one would believe that I deserved those opportunities — accepting would make me seem like a slut, since men make it on merit, and women make it in bed. So, ironically, I have been praised as professional for having passed on professional opportunities. I have been the lone woman presenting at the conference, and I have been the woman called a bitch for declining sexual relations with one of the institutions of hosts. I think I have just about covered the gamut of truly egregiously atrocious sexist behaviour. So I just have this one question that I think I need answered: Is the choice between doing philosophy, and living under these conditions, or saving yourself, and leaving the discipline?

This is an open call for reasons to stay.


I would say that since she's just about to start a new Ph.D. program, she should give it at least a year. See how things are in the new department. I think that there's almost no chance that the problems she's experiencing will disappear, but I think there's somewhat of a chance that they'll be at least manageable. Although, I guess I don't know what the chances are that this will happen, and it depends heavily on what levels of sexism she finds "manageable."

But if, after a year or two, she still finds that she's unhappy, I would advise her to follow her instincts and get out. Philosophy is a wonderful way to make a living, but only if it makes you happy. And if the A-holes and D-bags are making you miserable, it is completely sensible to seek an environment in which they are less of a factor. I think this is the best job in the world, but if the constant hum of sexist nitwits was making me chronically miserable, I wouldn't think it was the best job in the world anymore.

So, my advice is, give the new Ph.D. program a fair shake, but if things don't get better in a year or two, get out before you've invested so much time that it'll be hard not to throw good money after bad. But (and I'm not sure I fully understand this idiom) you shouldn't be afraid to throw bad money at philosophy. Or whatever.

--Mr. Zero

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would give it about 1 year in the PhD program to see what you think. During that time, I would also explore alternative career options and back up plans. Then decide if you want to move forward with Philosophy or pursue an alternative career. I wouldn't leave the PhD program, though, until you have a realistic and viable alternative career path carved out, as well as a financial plan in place to make sure you are financially stable while you pursue your alternative goal.

Personally, though, I would discourage anyone from pursuing a PhD in philosophy these days, even for people from well ranked schools. The job market is just too bad and there is no sign of it recovering. You are taking a huge financial risk pursuing a PhD in philosophy and during that 6-7 years forgoing any serious earning power to wind up with a PhD degree that itself promises no serious earning power. The financial implications that can have on buying a home and retirement are potentially devastating. I myself have secured a tenure track job after finishing my PhD, and I am still thinking about leaving the profession, because I feel like the academic job market in the humanities is very unstable and I still worry my job could get cut if enrollment in my classes isn't high enough to satisfy the Dean at my school. The pay you make nowadays as a professor just doesn't justify the amount of work and sacrifice you have to make to get a PhD in philosophy. When I started my PhD program, I was young and idealistic, but, for better or worse, I feel like now I have become solely a capitalist.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this person believes that sexist behavior is a problem in philosophy but not outside philosophy. If she pursued a career in a corporation, or in the government, or in the army, things would be exactly the same. The CEO of a company would ask her out before discussing promotion, a deputy will ask her out instead of asking her what her political views are, etc.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 9:36: I can't believe how dispassionate your view is. Philosophy is NOT about money, obviously. This is not a means of making money. Therefore complaints about how bad philosophers are getting paid are completely misplaced and stupid to me.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:12 -- I'm not sure if you're just trolling or you really mean what you said...but I'll bite:

Your sentiment seems hopelessly naive. While most of us in philosophy aren't in it for the money, nonetheless we do need money to live, to afford to fix our cars when they break down, to perhaps buy a house and have a family, to save for retirement and our childrens' college funds, to go on the occasional vacations, save money for potential problems, to see the occasional movie, to donate to causes we deem important, and to do whatever else it is that we deem important. Being concerned about making an adequate wage, saving enough for retirement, having adequate benefits, and so forth isn't stupid. It's being grown up; it's thinking about and planning for the future.

Many of my friends from college who got jobs immediately after college already have a well-established retirement plan, who get to travel to fantastic places, and who have purchased their own home. Despite the tragic lack of philosophy in their lives (*cough*), they seem to be living flourishing, happy lives. I'm one of the extraordinarily lucky ones who actually got a TT job out of grad school (last year). But even now, I'm facing down a mountain of debt from my undergrad years (and CC debt from grad school). I have barely anything in my savings account and don't have anything saved for retirement yet. I'm figuring it'll be about a decade before I can save enough for a down payment for a house. And yes, I'm freaking out about it a bit.

Do I regret going to grad school? Hell no. I love philosophy and love my job and realize how lucky I am to have it. And I do this job *because* I love it, not because of the pay or the benefits. But I share 9:36's worries about the financial cost of grad school and a career in the academy, especially in light of the current financial situation. Living a good, flourishing, life takes more than just philosophy (if it takes philosophy at all)...it takes having the adequate resources to afford that life.

Anonymous said...

6/13 10:09:

I've worked outside of philosophy -- in IT and Banking, two notoriously sexist fields. Guess where the sexism and misogyny is the worst? In philosophy.

I have an erstwhile girlfriend who was an academic as well (non-philosophy, but in the humanities). She's now a tax lawyer for an international accounting firm of some note. Worst sexism she ever experienced? As a grad student.

There are many, many workplaces that are far less openly sexist than philosophy. Fuck, I bet engineers, physicists, and mathematicians are less sexist philosophers.

Mr. Zero said...

Hi 10:12,

You may not think you're trolling, but you are. The topic of this discussion is not someone who wonders if a career in philosophy is compatible with her god-given right to spend summers on exotic beaches; it's someone who wonders if a career in philosophy is compatible with not being made miserable by sexist pricks. The comment you recently posted does not add anything useful to that discussion, and it will not be published.

Anonymous said...

This is Anon 9:36. replying 10:12 and 10:59.

I am aware that one does not decide to become a philosophy professor solely for financial reasons. Clearly, there must be an element of love for teaching and writing as well.

Nonetheless, I believe that, in this post-recession world, wisdom dictates you must balance the cost of pursuing what you love against the financial implications of pursuing that love. And, in this post recession world, it is no longer clear to me that the financial ramifications of going to graduate school for 6-7 years to get a PhD in philosophy makes sense given that during that time most people forgoe serious earnings for 6-7 years and even with a PhD in hand have low chances of getting a job with serious earning power, even if they come from a top ranked program.

As Anon 10:12 points out, finishing graduate school in your late 20s or early 30s with no savings is not a good position to be in.

For instance, it means it will be years until you can buy a home, and it means you are behind the game in saving for retirement and you have already lost years of compound interest on that retirement. That's not to add to the fact that by the time you finish grad school you probably will need a new car and have no money for that either. Also, if you want to start a family and have kids, you are not in a financial position to really be able to provide well for your family either.

At the end of the day, everyone must decide what balance they are comfortable with in terms of pursuing their dreams and the financial risks they are willing to take on to pursue those dreams.

However, the reason I write about this stuff at places like here is that I do not think enough grad students think about these things, and I think people need to at least be aware of the serious and potentially devastating (yes DEVSTATING) financial ramifications pursuing a PhD can have today in our post recession world.

Personally speaking, as soon as the recession hit, I realized many of the financial implications I have written about here, and so I immediately picked up an extra job while I finished my PhD. It was very hard, but while I finished my PhD, I worked another job and I saved all of that money, and now I will be coming out of my program with a pretty sizable savings and with a tenure track job in hand. Due to the fact that I worked another job while in grad school, in my personal case, when I start my tenure track job soon, I will not be facing many of the financial problems I write about here, because I have saved a lot of money from my other job while in graduate school.

Again, the main reason I write about this here is that I do not think enough people think about this stuff.

I talked to people in my department about this when the recession hit and people thought I was crazy and had lost my mind and was just an excessive worrier. However, in retrospect, I think that I was grappling with serious issues no one else was thinking about that needed to be faced head-on, and I am thankful for the decisions I made to work extra jobs while I was in school.

So, in the end, everyone is free to pursue their dreams. If someone wants to take on what I personally consider to be financial suicide to pursue their dreams, they are free to do that. But before pursuing your dreams, at least think about the financial ramifications it can have in our post recession world, so that you know what you are getting yourself into. Sadly, it seems to me that not enough grad students are being encouraged to at least consider some hard financial realities they face in pursuing their dreams, which is why I have written this here.

Anonymous said...

Mr Zero, if the reason for having eliminated my comment is that it is off-topic, you should also eliminate the comments of the other commentator. I suspect that the real reason behind your decision is that you simply did not like what I wrote. I understand this decision, it is uncomfortable when someone says in your face a plain truth about your life.

Mr. Zero said...

Hi Anon 10:12,

I was willing to let the conversation stray a little, but only a little. In point of fact, I think your point was basically right. My problem with it concerns the quarrelsome manner in which you made it and the context in which it appeared.

Anonymous said...

From what we know here about the person in question, my heart says that we need not just her (especially given her accomplishments!) but many, many more like her in philosophy, speaking up, airing the shameful ways sexism has persisted in what should be a respectful and dignified profession, but too often obviously is not. On the other hand 9:36 makes a lot of good points and may be giving the most realistic advice.

I'm an older male philosopher, and wonder if it is my generation, rather than younger male philosophers, who are most frequently offensive in this way. Any data on this?

Anonymous said...

I'm anon 10:59 (I should really just figure out a name and stick to it!). Apologies for helping take the discussion off topic from what I think is a really important question/issue.

I largely agree with Mr. Zero's suggestions, though I wanted to add that there are an ever-growing number of resources and outlets for women in philosophy. Two rather newish resources are:
1. The Women in Philosophy Task Force (http://web.mit.edu/wphtf/Welcome.html ) and
2. The mentoring project for pre-tenure women in philosophy (http://www.philosophy.ku.edu/mentoring-project/)

The second aims at women who already have a TT job (or are entering a TT job) and are pre-tenure, so it obviously isn't immediately applicable to the woman writing in What it's Like blog entry. As a woman in a new TT job, though, I am *extraordinarily* excited about this project.

The first, though, looks really exciting and *is* immediately useful/applicable. I'm really hoping that it will become a good resource for women in philosophy and will foster a great deal of empowered community amongst those of us in the profession who are victims of sexism and/or recognize it as a problem that must be addressed.

I think that both of these, as well as the 'feminist philosophers' blog, the 'what it's like' blog, and several other online resources also point to a new feeling of solidarity amongst women in philosophy. We have an ever-growing set of resources available that give outlet for our frustrations, sympathetic audiences to offer support and suggestions, advice for pursuing official charges of sexism and discrimination, and a way to exert social pressure on those who are part of the problem.

Of course, all of these won't completely mitigate the absolute hell that it can be to be a woman in philosophy when one has the misfortune to be in sexist departments/around sexist individuals. I don't think anything can do that. But they at least provide an element of community and support...and that ain't nothing.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:08:

I am a tenured woman at a ranked research university. My experience is that the sexism that comes from older males is merely more obvious than the sexism from younger males. Sexist older males treat you like a charming young thing rather than a philosopher and often make incautious comments. Sexist younger males are more careful. They don't say the wrong thing to you. Instead, they exclude you from the conversation, either in person around the dinner or bar table, or by not citing you, by not including you in the working group developing a new hot topic, not sending you draft manuscripts, not suggesting your name in the hiring meetings... etc.

Anonymous said...

I'm a tenure track female philosopher. From my experience being a grad student I'd say the sexism was much worse then than it's been since I became an assistant professor. Also, most of the white males in my cohort are still without a job. So, I guess that I had the last laugh.

Anonymous said...

Thank you 6:09; I'm 2:08.

Though far removed from grad school (late 70s), I still cringe when I recall very (still) famous males who came to speak to our department, and yet who obviously were then in the evening dinner/drinks/socials trolling for quick and easy sex from the few women in our not-today-Leiter-radar department. Since my generation was exposed to this kind of everyday harassment as acceptable and normal behavior, I suspected that my peers--40s to 60s males--would tend to behave in like manner--why I made the comment. Since we as a generation still train younger philosophers, I wonder if the contamination of the sordid belief that miraculously somehow published accomplishment = sexual privilege lingers (except that it does not translate to women, of course). I'm not employed in a grad department, so my own professional experience is irrelevant here at least for the experience of women in grad school today. I'd just hope things were better--but I suspect they'e not.

CTS said...

I hope the questioner will not leave philosophy.

One change - since I started out - is that there are rules, HR officers, and [sometimes] good profs or senior colleagues who will not only help, but bring the sexist jerks to heel.

I both hate to say, and am happy to say it: things have gotten better.

Anonymous said...

Like 11:47, I've worked in two fields outside philosophy. Unlike 11:47, I found that the sexism in these other fields was much, much worse than in philosophy. (The two fields were not IT or banking, and I'd say only one of them is 'notoriously sexist'.)

So my reaction was similar to 10:09, but more so. I thought, "You must be kidding -- almost anything else you go into will be much worse." (And I notice that according to 11:47, *other humanities* fields are also horribly sexist.)

This might be because I was lucky in graduate school. My male peers were as a whole supportive (and many of them more of a feminist than I am), and my teachers were fair and enlightened. I suspect we all overgeneralize from our own graduate school experience.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this person believes that sexist behavior is a problem in philosophy but not outside philosophy. If she pursued a career in a corporation, or in the government, or in the army, things would be exactly the same.

No, it wouldn't. It's not that the non-academic world is free from sexism, but that there are features of the philosophy that help to make it worse. There's a better gender balance in many, many fields, and in my experience the corporate world is better about policing itself than the universities are about policing tenured guys. And the corporate world in general has less patience for misbehavior by someone who is thought to be brilliant (probably in part because being a brilliant businessperson requires some social grace.)

They tend to be better about encouraging mentoring, too; my sister works at an engineering firm and doesn't lack for mentors because her mentors get financial rewards for acting as mentors to women and minorities. She expresses mild annoyance at all these well-meaning middle-aged men and women who just want to help her do things like get a promotion, or go to a conference, or develop a new competency, because so many of them want to help her.

Plus, a businesswoman who runs into a sexist boss who passes her over for promotions has a lot more opportunity for lateral mobility than a tenure-track philosophy professor who is denied tenure by her colleagues.

There's still lots of room for improvement in the corporate world, but when I show the "what's it like?" blog to my parents or non-academic friends, they're flabbergasted.

White Male Philosopher said...

The OP did ask for reasons to stay, and so far the only reason given has been that life is full of sexist jerks outside of philosophy, too—the accuracy of which has been disputed.

I'm a white male who just finished the first year of a TT job, which I got one year after grad school. I also have a very supportive wife who makes decent money. I say that as a way of admitting that I never bore the brunt of sexism, suffered the misery of long-term un(der)employment after grad school, or faced the dire financial problems mentioned in this thread.

I can say that if you land a (decent) TT job after grad school, it is a fantastic gig. You get to spend most of your days talking and writing about philosophy. You have an enormous amount of control over your own schedule. When time permits (as it does for me over the summer), you get to read and write whatever you want, with a sense of freedom and autonomy that I, at least, didn't feel in grad school. Sure, there are downsides—grading papers, committee meetings, problematic colleagues, low pay relative to your level of education and the amount of work you put in—but they are outweighed, in my view, by the good points.

If you, OP, are in as strong a position as you think you are—and I'd suggest you look closely at the school's placement record to verify that this is the case—then I agree with Zero's advice: give the PhD program a try, seek the support mentioned elsewhere in these comments to ward off the worst of academia, and then decide whether you want to stick it out.

Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that being a woman will give you an enormous advantage when you go on the job market. Most departments are under extreme administrative and peer pressure to hire women.

Mr. Zero said...

being a woman will give you an enormous advantage when you go on the job market.

It seems to me that the evidence for this claim is inconclusive. The APA does not keep detailed statistics on this, but we did a rough count last year and found that the proportion of women hired is approximately equal to the proportion of women in the applicant pool. That doesn't suggest an enormous advantage. While I agree that these administrative pressures are there, it also seems that philosophy departments are somewhat famous for resisting or ignoring them.

Anonymous said...

re: administrative pressures

In one of many spectacular displays of continued adolescence, administrative pressure to do x almost always results in petulant insistence on doing y, even if x is all-things-considered preferred, because...like...fuck the man, man.

If you haven't seen this happen, you haven't spent enough time in Philosophy departments.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 8:53am here. My evidence for the claim is purely anecdotal. My department has hired at least two female philosophers in the past 5 years where it was very clear that their being a woman was decisive for the hiring. I recall that during a discussion with the graduate students, the chair said, about a candidate, "and, she is a woman". I recall another conversation with said chair where he emphasized "that we need women".
,

Mr. Zero said...

Hi anon 8:53/1:14,

My evidence for the claim [that women have an "enormous" advantage on the job market] is purely anecdotal.

Fair enough. I'm sure you're aware of the limitations of anecdotal evidence, and that no single anecdote could establish that women in general have an enormous advantage on the job market.

My department has hired at least two female philosophers in the past 5 years where it was very clear that their being a woman was decisive for the hiring... conversation with said chair where he emphasized "that we need women".

You probably did need a woman. If your department is typical, there are probably at least five or six or as many as ten men for every woman. The reason why philosophy departments need to consciously make an effort to hire a woman is because when they don't make this effort they tend to hire only men. But the fact that departments do make this effort doesn't mean there's even a slight advantage to being female on the job market. The "advantage" might merely cancel out the systemic disadvantages women face. It might not even cancel them out, resulting in a net disadvantage. It depends on the relative magnitudes of the relative effects.

Anonymous said...

If you have any doubts, don't start a PhD program. If you hate it and leave, it's so much more difficult to ever go back than if you take some time off now and defer or reapply later.

not bob said...

In my experience, there's a significant advantage for women in getting interviews. In my experience, this advantage does not translate into any advantage in getting hired.

I do mean to stress that it's my own experience, limited to one department plus an odd 'guest' position on another department's hiring committee. YMMV.

I'm a senior philosopher at a department with a graduate program. I thought about 'signing' my name, but I really don't want anyone speculating about my female colleagues, so I won't.

On the whole, I pretty much agree with what Zero has been saying on this topic.

Anonymous said...

Apply for jobs in Women's Studies Departments if your AOS allows -- last I check the female majority in such departments rivals or surpasses the male majority in philosophy departs. (This (plausibly) assumes that fewer male colleagues entails fewer of the problems about which you complain.)

Anonymous said...

God I need to proofread:

Apply for jobs in Womens' Studies Departments if your AOS allows -- last I checked the female majority in such departments rivals or surpasses the male majority in philosophy departments. (This (plausibly) assumes that fewer male colleagues entails fewer of the problems about which you complain.)

I've likely missed others.

Anonymous said...

To Mr. Zero's excellent points, I'd add that witnessing affirmative action in action does not entail that women have an advantage on the job market. It might mean that they have an advantage in one position (though it might not even mean that. I've seen departments anxious to hire women. I've also seen departments reject women candidates on the grounds that they already had one woman philosopher so there was no real diversity need. I've also seen male philosophers go with their gut about whom to hire when deciding between close candidates, and that often means that the tall white guy just "seems smart.")

But there were some numbers over at Feminist Philosophers a while back, and women are getting 30% of the philosophy PhDs and something like 17% of the tenure-track jobs (and I believe those numbers are for junior people). That's... not a number that would make me tell a prospective graduate student that she'll have an enormous advantage. Those are numbers that would make me think she's actually at a disadvantage.

Anon said...

I'm an older woman in philosophy and your story disturbs me, even given my knowledge of how sexist philosophy is.

So let me first say I'm so sorry this has happened to you and I'm disgusted by these people--particularly the man who called you a bitch but by the rest of them as well.

I don't think I can give you advice in this situation and I don't think I can give you a reason to stay in philosophy that would be different than the reasons you are already in philosophy. I suspect you love philosophy and that's why you're doing it.

The reason someone gave you below--that you will get an excellent job--is not an overwhelmingly strong reason for the reason the first anonymous (9:36 AM) mentions.

It's tempting to tell anyone facing oppression and bullshit to throw in the towel since many of us could be doing better financially and personally if we didn't get sucked into academia. How tempting for us to resign in protest. But then it feels like you let the bastards win. I'd say that's the reason I stayed in philosophy. Why should *they* get to do philosophy? Why should being an asshole be a professional qualification?

You will experience different kinds of sexism as you progress through your career and it may be that you get hardened to it over time. There's still plenty of stupidity and sexism in one's later career but I've found that sexism directed at me bothers me much less than it used to--although your story really does bother me.

The sexism is less overwhelming perhaps because a woman's actual social power increases at each stage. You may find the PhD to be even better than the MA in this respect. The sexism may be less frequent and somewhat easier to ignore.

Still, there is a long and treacherous road to tenure. So I don't mean to sugarcoat it. You have to choose whether you are willing to fight for what you want, even if risks are involved. Try to remember you aren't entirely powerless and there will come a point where it will be easier to defend yourself.

I don't have sleazy people picking me up but rather other types of annoyances. Except no one can do anything to me at this point. And I'm mid-career so I can enjoy this feeling of relative security and only the occasional infuriating garbage for quite a few years to come. And I get to do philosophy, which is what I want to do.

Some things you can do: Cultivate allies, develop some sense of entitlement (you never have to turn anything down that will help your career unless there's a cost to you), remember that there are some tools you can fight back with, keep your eye on women you see doing well and recognize that good work can still pay off in spite of everything.

Anonymous said...

Don't stay. If you want to do philosophy, you don't need these antiquated prisons. Think of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, or Kripke. They did their best work outside of the academy or were never part of it, and many had nonphilosophy dayjobs. If you are passionate about Philosophy--and not the percieved cushiness and prestige of academic jobs-- you don't need graduate school to be influential. You don't need graduate school to buy philosophy books and read them . A small percentage of the best and the brightest philosophy graduate students get jobs, and (often) only after sacrificing their interests to those of their advisors. After an incomeless and humiliating 5-8 years, it is still a crapshoot. You would be better off doing an easy, low paying job and then spending the other 6-8 hours of the day reading and writing passionately. You can email particular professors from any university if you need to discuss something particular. They will always reply if you know what you are talking about and are engaging.

I was like you. I was whatever these people consider attractive in women. What they could not forgive was that I wore high heels, but I was so good at formulaic mechanical quibbling (academic writing---not a great accomplishment) that they could not ignore me for long.

Then the creeps wanted to sleep with me. The non-creeps didn't want to socialize with me because they didn't want to appear to be creeps. They kept a distance that they did not with extremely dull male students, because they valued their reputations. Most mentoring came through email--not a bad thing--and in most cases, only after I reached out first.

After I was nearly sexually assaulted, a trusted philosophy professor helped me. We talked about what had happened to a student who had reported a similar incident some years prior---her name was dragged through the mud because she had no physical evidence. So I didn't report it, not even internally. The school told me that they did not accept any anonymous reports, and that there was no guarantee that I would not be identified if the U chose to take internal action on the basis of what I told them.

I became depressed. I gained 45 pounds, cut off all my hair, and started wearing sweatpants and oversized men's tshirts.

Thereafter I was treated with unimaginable respect and admiration, even by professors who knew nothing of my accomplishments or my identity. Female professors began to treat me well. I ate up the new respect. Due to obesity, I developed type II diabetes. Then I realized what I have written in the first paragraph, quit, and never looked back. That was two years ago. I do not regret it and I do not pity myself, nor should I have in the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Some reasons to stay, collected by Jender at "What Is It Like to Be a Woman in Philosophy?"

Anonymous said...

What an intensely disturbing story, Anon 12:42. You certainly have my sympathy. You've also got my blood boiling. What assholes, and what a messed-up system. I would even go so far as to say that any proposal to fix it should be measured in terms of how well it would have prevented or allowed you to deal with the horrible situation you describe.

So, what sorts of non-academic careers did you find that allow you to spend 6-8 hours per day on philosophy?

Anonymous said...

Think of Descartes, Spinoza, Leibniz, Kant, Hume, Nietzsche, or Kripke.

Not that it matters all that much, but Kant did all of his philosophical work while teaching philosophy at a university, and Kripke did much of what he's most famous for while teaching at a university (and why he left isn't so honorable.) Nietzsche left the university for health reasons, not because he didn't want to be there, and even Hume tried to get a teaching post several times, but was kept out by religious bigots. So, this might not be a great list to look to.